10 May 2015

Message to a therapist who insists on sitting on the fence

I wrote this after a distressing conversation with a fellow counsellor during a trauma workshop. Speaks for itself….

"Dear xxxx

Further to our conversation yesterday, I just wanted to say that I was deeply upset, as you clearly saw, by your words which completely dismissed and invalidated my experience. I am reluctant to contact you but I have been deeply troubled and feel that it is better for me to let you know that as a fellow professional, I am extending you the opportunity to revise your views, which I see as bystanding. A really good book you might want to read on the topic is Petrushka Clarkson's Working with Ethical and Moral Dilemmas in Psychotherapy. She also wrote a book simply entitled The Bystander which is also an important read.

The fact that you don't like the BACP as an organisation does not change the fact that an independent panel had very damning findings after a total of four days of hearings. The fall out from this whole terrible affair has been not only two strikings off by the BACP but a withdrawal of counselling students from Palace Gate by The Iron Mill Institute, Heartwood and Exeter College. A letter was also circulated to referring agencies by 26 local counsellors who did not bystand and took ethical action to try and stop a toxic organisation from continuing to practice with such little insight and such vitriolic behaviour towards those that tried to raise concerns. I can email you a copy of this if you like, with the list of signatories. The content can be found here: https://notsobigsociety.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/concerned-counsellors-raise-alarm-over-palace-gate/

The Person-Centred Association South West also saw fit to ban John Clapham and Lindsey Talbott due to their behaviour. 

I would suggest that it was inappropriate of you to bring up the topic, given that you are sitting on the fence, given that I was one of the complainants and given the nature of the course we were attending. I also found it inappropriate that you wanted to discuss your problems with the organisation yet were not prepared to allow me a voice.

The argument that you weren't in the therapy room is no argument at all. This is abuse. Abuse happens behind closed doors. There is the very simple question of why on earth would I put myself through the huge emotional, professional and financial expense of a frankly horrific, two year ordeal?  You can find some of my answer to that here http://www.amandawilliamsoncounselling.co.uk/2014/01/i-wont-stand-for-abuse-i-will-stand.html

I encourage you to examine your agenda in bystanding, and in taking the conversation to a completely unnecessary and distressing place for me. " 


Caterina McNulty said...

I really admire your strength and perseverance, it is a lot easier to sit on the fence. what you did takes a lot of courage. It is frightening that someone in a position of power will actually abuse it, I can't think of it taking place anywhere worse than the counselling room. Clients have often already suffered abuse, it should be a safe place and the damage can be devestating and long lasting.

Spirit of 1976 said...

As various policy documents have repeatedly stated, safeguarding is everybody's business. If you're a profession who works with vulnerable people and there's a POVA or child protection issue arising, you have a duty to address it. Nobody gets to say, "safeguarding is nothing to do with me", and there's no exceptions to that.

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